Wilkes-Barre Sedation Dentist Offers Insight on the Gag Reflex

Having a sensitive gag reflex can create anxiety for dental patients, which leads them to avoid much needed dental work. Knowledge can be a powerful tool in reducing the sensitivity of your gag reflex through relaxation techniques. Our Wilkes-Barre sedation dentist, Dr. James DeFinnis, would like to help alleviate your concerns by explaining the gag reflex.

What is the Gag Reflex?

Also known as a pharyngeal reflex, gagging is a contraction of the muscles in the throat as a reaction to stimulus. Individual people have different gagging triggers, such as: taking pills that are too large, eating food that they are not fond of, and, of course, visiting the dentist. One patient might gag only when an instrument goes very far into the back of the mouth, but another might start to feel a gag coming on as soon as they open their mouths widely.

Arm Yourself with Suppression Techniques

Focusing on your gag reflex before an appointment at our Wilkes-Barre dental office might do more harm than good, but there are some things you can try that might help suppress a very sensitive gag reflex:

  • Communicate with your dentist before the dental work begins. Making Dr. DeFinnis aware of your concerns might even result in less gagging, because you’ll feel relieved that the cards are on the table.
  • Breathing deeply during the procedure can impart feelings of relaxation, which means less gagging.
  • Sitting upright or standing during certain dental procedures can help reduce pharyngeal reflexes.
  • Even the simple act of putting a little salt on your tongue can suppress a gag reflex.

You Are Not Alone

Reflexes occur naturally in our bodies and against our will, so there’s never any need to feel ashamed of gagging when you are in the middle of dental work. Your Wilkes-Barre sedation dentist is familiar with the phenomenon and can work around it. Whether you gag or not, trust Dr. DeFinnis to provide you with advanced dental care in a relaxing atmosphere.

Sometimes a gag reflex can be so severe that sedation dentistry is a viable consideration. Contact Back Mountain Dental today for a sedation dentistry consultation, at 570-763-4360. We serve Wilkes-Barre, Dallas, Forty Fort, Kingston, PA and the surrounding communities.


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